A trust-based estate plan can help California residents and their loved ones avoid the rigors of probate. However, a revocable living trust only protects assets already in its possession. After death, any remaining properties and possessions could be subject to court administration, risking the estate’s safety and its solvency.

Fortunately, a pour-over will can reduce the uncertainty of succession by ensuring that any residual assets are transferred into your trust. The benefits of a pour over will | CA Estate Planning Lawyer

The Advantages of Pour-Over Wills

A pour-over will is a testament that names a single beneficiary: a living trust. When the testator passes away, any assets that have not yet been re-titled to the trust are transferred to its care. Once the trust has received the pour-over assets, it manages them in accordance with the same terms you set for the trust’s administration.

Pour-over wills help ensure Californians that any residual assets are protected by the trust, even if they forgot to include them when they were still alive.

A pour-over will could accommodate certain assets, including:

  • Real estate
  • Motor vehicles
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement savings accounts

Pour-Over Wills and Probate

Similar to conventional wills, a pour-over will nominates an executor to settle the estate’s affairs. Under ordinary circumstances, the executor would be responsible for a wide range of tasks: collecting the estate’s assets, paying its debts, and distributing inheritances. However, the executor of a pour-over will has but one responsibility, which is to transfer the estate’s remaining non-trust assets into the decedent’s established trust.

While some pour-over assets might be subject to probate, they can ordinarily pass directly to the trust with minimal court oversight, sparing the decedent’s loved ones the rigors of a full and formal succession.

Do You Need to Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney?

If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call us directly at 800.756.5596 to first register for one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a special discount for our estate planning services should you decide to make a free appointment at the conclusion of the seminar and choose to proceed with us. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.


Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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